Unlikeable Main Characters

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mirepoix Avatar


While I read the pre-release preview, and the premise intrigued me, the three primary characters were so unlikeable, I found myself dragging through this story. I also did not enjoy the structure of the novel.

Each chapter rotated among the three main characters' points-of-view. The month/date was also stated at the chapters' beginning, but not all the time, which made it difficult to follow as typical setting details were frequently skipped (was it daytime? was it a school day or the weekend?). Normally I don't mind this style of writing. However, in this case, it was not consistent in its pattern. Sometimes each chapter was a retelling/backstory of each characters' perspective on the same event, but other times the different character's chapters advanced the storyline for everyone. It wouldn't be until the end of the second chapter in the latter style, that the reader can figure this out, as many details are withheld throughout.

Additionally, I feel this story was trying to be a mix between a mystery, a la We Were Liars, and Margaret Atwood's style of telling a seemingly bland story, sprinkling huge details in a casually way, sometimes just 1 sentence of mention over the course of 50 pages. However, it was not well-done in this story's case, and the characters are so unlikeable, that it was torture bothering to turn the pages in order to fully understand them (which I never did). It was only in the last 20% of the book that some things started to come together (yet still no saving of the three irritating buddies). The supporting characters were highly undeveloped, which should be no surprise since the main characters weren't fully developed either.

This book is set in, I think a small town, on the coast of Maine and its shoreline main street, which seemed like a location in which it could alone be a character, particularly in the opening chapters. However, it played less of a role as the story went on, and although the beach, ocean, and a couple of other settings are mentioned throughout, it is not so much that the reader would visualize the locations. The beach diner plays a prominent role in the book for each character, yet I have no visualization of its appearance, and as the characters move to the kitchen, or discuss the front windows, there are minimal details provided. It is if the author assumes the reader lives in the town too and the writing is more like a newspaper article, reporting events and facts.

I teach students in the YA age level and will not be placing this book in my classroom library due to its low interest level, character and setting development and narrative structure. I'm only giving it 2 stars because there are interesting details throughout, even if the rest of it is under-developed.